It’s here, Chargers fans. Full pads. Grown man football.
One of the most anticipated days of the offseason has finally arrived and with it comes expectations, intrigue, and a healthy dose of caution. After all, it was this day during last year’s training camp that Forrest Lamp was lost for his rookie season due to an ACL-tear.
But crazy and fluky injuries happen all the time. Today needs to embraced by every player, regardless of experience. The rookies must get acclimated to the level of physicality at the professional level while the veterans need to shake the dust off and remember what it feels like to let it rip after the long offseason.
Heading into today’s practice, here are several aspects to keep your eye on once the stretching ends and the pads start popping.
1. After passing the eye test, will rookie LBs Kyzir White and Uchenna Nwosu continue to impress?
Both White and Nwosu looked excellent and seemed to make the most of their reps during the first two days of camp. According to our very own Matthew Stanley (@boltfanindenver), White’s athleticism stood out while they went through individual drills:
Kyzir white is shockingly fast running through these LB drills. Dear lord— Matthew Stanley (@boltfanindenver) July 28, 2018
When asked about the first padded-practice, White didn’t attempt to hide his excitement.
“It’s been a while since I’ve put pads on so I’m ready. It feels great just getting adjusted to everything, being around my teammates (and) trying to get this thing rolling for a great season.”
Nwosu was also able to put his explosiveness off the edge on display as he made several disruptive plays against the second-team offense:
Nwosu almost got a tipped ball, all in Cardale Jones face & he had to throw it away— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) July 28, 2018
2. With the pads on, will WR Dylan Cantrell be able to embrace the extra contact and take advantage of his size against the smaller DBs?
On the first day of training camp, it was obvious that the former-red raider was struggling whenever a defender would press him off the line of scrimmage in 1-on-1 drills:
Cantrell has serious problems with the press. All the way bad.— Matthew Stanley (@boltfanindenver) July 28, 2018
However, Cantrell rebounded with a much-improved practice the next day, hauling in a number of catches on the outside and from the slot:
Dylan Cantrell just hauled in a 2nd catch against Facyson— Matthew Stanley (@boltfanindenver) July 29, 2018
The young receiver was another rookie who got to describe his mindset heading into today’s practice. “I think intensity’s going to be even higher (and) competition is going to be great. You get a better feel for actual football. We’re going to try to be safe and keep each other off the ground and protect each other.”
3. Will the young UDFA corners be able to bounce back after a rough start to training camp?
Two of the most interesting UDFAs among the 2018 crop have been CBs Tony Brown from Alabama and Brandon Facyson out of Virginia Tech. Over the last several years, the Chargers have had quite the luck finding diamonds in the rough at the position, with Trevor Williams and Mike Davis the most recent examples.
With Brown, there is the elite athleticism (4.35 in the 40). With Facyson, you have excellent size as he stands 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, but less long-speed (4.53 forty).
According to our own Garrett Sisti, the two young corners had their fair share of growing pains through the first pair of practices:
Facyson got grabby with Mike Williams, got flagged. Facyson & Brown rough start— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) July 28, 2018
Tony Brown got worked over by Nelson Spruce. Browns footwork still a work in progress, easy catch by Spruve with seperation— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) July 28, 2018